SLE is an autoimmune disorder with a chronic pathology. Normally, the immune system fights off infections & germs to avoid diseases and to keep the body healthy. An autoimmune disorder occurs when the immune system attacks the body because it confuses it for something foreign. There are many autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The term lupus has been used to identify a number of immune diseases that have similar clinical presentations and laboratory features, but SLE is the most common type of lupus. People are often referring to SLE when they say lupus. SLE is a chronic disease that can have phases of worsening symptoms that alternate with periods of mild symptoms. Most people with SLE are able to live a normal life with treatment.
Signs & symptoms
Symptoms can vary and can change over time. Common symptoms include:
- Severe fatigue
- Joint pain
- Swelling in the joints
- Stiffness in the joints
- A dark skin rash on the cheeks and nose, which is called a “butterfly rash”
- Hair fall/hair loss
- Problems with blood clotting
- fingers turning white or blue and tingling when cold, which is known as Raynaud’s phenomenon
- Other symptoms depend on the affected part of the body, such as digestive tract, heart or skin.
The exact cause of SLE isn’t known, but several factors have been associated with the disease, like
- Environmental triggers can include:
- ultraviolet rays
- certain medications
- ultraviolet rays
- physical or emotional stress
- Sex hormones like oestrogen – SLE affects women more than men.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, lupus) is characterized by a global loss of self-tolerance with activation of autoreactive T and B cells leading to production of pathogenic autoantibodies and tissue injury. Innate immune mechanisms are necessary for the aberrant adaptive immune responses in SLE.
A physical exam to check for typical signs and symptoms of lupus, including:
- sun sensitivity rashes, such as a malar or butterfly rash
- mucous membrane ulcers, which may occur in the mouth or nose
- arthritis, which is swelling or tenderness of the small joints of the hands, feet, knees, and wrists
- hair loss
- hair thinning
- signs of cardiac or lung involvement, such as murmur, rubs, or arrhythmia
No one single test is diagnostic for SLE, but screenings that can help your doctor come to an informed diagnosis include:
- blood tests, such as antibody tests and a total count
- a urine analysis
- a chest X ray
There is no cure for SLE. The aim of treatment is to control or manage symptoms. Treatment can vary depending on how severe the symptoms are and which parts of the body is affected. The treatments may include:
- anti-inflammatory medications for joint pain and stiffness,
- steroid creams for rashes
- corticosteroids to minimize the immune response
- antimalarial drugs for skin and joint problems
- disease modifying drugs or targeted immune system agents for more severe cases
SLE is a long-term condition with a bad prognosis. It affects people differently. Treatments are most effective when started early.
Over time, SLE can damage or cause complications in systems throughout the body. Possible complications may include:
- Blood clots and inflammation of blood vessels or vasculitis
- Inflammation of the heart, or pericarditis
- A heart attack
- A stroke
- Memory changes
- Behavioral changes
- Inflammation of lung tissue and the lining of the lung, or pleuritis
- Kidney inflammation
- Decreased kidney function
- Kidney failure
SLE can also lead to pregnancy complications and even miscarriage.
Disease & Ayurveda
There is no directly named correlation for SLE in Ayurveda. But clinically most cases can be compared with Vaatarakta considering both the poorvaroopa & lakshana.
Food which is Vidaahi, viruddham & asrkpradooshanam(causing indigestion&acidity, opposite in potency, causing vitiation of Rakta)
Unhealthy habits of sleep & waking up, sex
Absence of Sodhanakriya(panchakarma)
Causative factors for the vitiation of rakta along with usage of Vaata-vitiating and cold diet & regimen
Similar to Kushtha (severe skin disease affecting deeper dhatus)
Due to its causative factors, Rakta gets vitiated in the body. This person when uses Vaata-vitiating and cold diet & regimen Vaata also gets vitiated & travels through abnormal path in the body. When this Vaata gets obstructed by the aggravated Rakta, Vaata vitiates that rakta also and produces the disease called Vaatarakta.
Saada – fatigue
Slathangatha – feeling of loose joints & body
Kandu(itching), Sphurana(throbbing), nisthoda(pricking pain), bheda(piercing pain), gaurava(heaviness), suptata(numbness) of joints especially jaanu(knee), jangha(calf), ooru(thigh), kati(sacrum), amsa(shoulder), hasta(arms), paada(legs) and angasandhishu(in joints of the body)
Ayurvedic treatment for Vaatarakta starts with balancing the vitiated Rakta by doing raktamoksha (blood letting) which is done after using Sneha therapy prior to it. Raktamoksha should be done intermittently, considering the strength of the patient & balancing Vaatadosha.
Lepanam & parishekam with soolahara & raktaprasadana dravyas
Puraanaghrutam in Vaata dominant Vaatarakta
Vasti -especially ksheeravasti
Commonly used medicines
Certain home remedies and lifestyle modifications will help to improve the quality of life while living with SLE. This includes exercise, rest, and assistive devices.
Exercise – Low impact exercises can help to improve the range of motion in the joints and increase their mobility. Exercise can also strengthen muscles, which can help to relieve some of the pressure from joints.
Get enough rest and sleep
Apply heat or cold accordingly
Ice packs or cold compresses can help to reduce inflammation and pain. They may also be effective against muscle spasms.
Try assistive devices such as splints and braces can hold the joints in a resting position. This may help to reduce inflammation.
Canes and crutches can be helpful to maintain mobility, even during flares.
- To be avoided
Heavy meals and difficult to digest foods – cause indigestion.
Junk foods- cause disturbance in digestion and reduces the bioavailability of the medicine
Carbonated drinks – makes the stomach more acidic and disturbed digestion
Refrigerated and frozen foods – causes weak and sluggish digestion by weakening Agni (digestive fire)
Milk and milk products – increase kapha, cause obstruction in channels and obesity
Curd – causes vidaaha and thereby many other diseases
- To be added
Light meals and easily digestible foods
Green gram, soups, fresh vegetables, fruits and leaves.
Freshly cooked and warm food processed with cumin seeds, ginger, black pepper, ajwain etc
Protect yourself from cold climate.
Better to avoid exposure to excessive sunlight wind rain or dust.
Maintain a regular food and sleep schedule.
Avoid holding or forcing the urges like urine, faeces, cough, sneeze etc.
Avoid sedentary lifestyle. Be active.
Lack of body movement is one of the main cause of Vaatarakta
Yoga and other exercises are not advised during a painful flare up with severe inflammation. Regular stretching and mild cardio exercises are advised in the normal period. Also, specific yogacharya including naadisuddhi pranayama, bhujangaasana, pavanamuktasana is recommended.
Regular exercise helps improve bioavailability of the medicine and food ingested and leads to positive health.
Yoga can maintain harmony within the body and with the surrounding system.
Sookshma vyayama for whole body
Yoga for joint pain and arthritis
All the exercises and physical exertions must be decided and done under the supervision of a medical expert only.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, United States. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult your GP before the intake.
Dr. Rajesh Nair, the co-founder and chief consultant of Ayurvedaforall.Com, is a graduate of prestigious Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College (affiliated with the University of Calicut), Kerala, India. Additionally, he holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy from Annamalai University.
Dr. Nair offers consultation at two busy clinics in and around Haripad, Alleppey, Kerala, the southern state famous worldwide for authentic ayurvedic treatment and physicians. While offering consultation on all aspects of ayurvedic treatments Dr. Nair has a special interest in Panchkarma, Yoga, and Massage.
Through Ayurvedaforall Dr. Nair offers online consultation to patients worldwide and has served hundreds of patients over the last 20 years. In addition to his Ayurvedic practice, he is the chief editor of ayurveda-amai.org, the online portal of Ayurveda Medical Association of India, and the state committee member of Ayurveda Medical Association of India.
Dr. Nair is a regular speaker at Ayurveda-related conferences and has visited Germany to propagate Ayurveda. You can write directly to him-
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